Sunday, November 20, 2016

Presumption of guilt

The Americans had their JFK moment. The world as we know it today has its 9/11 moment. If you ask people around—even the so-called millennials—where they were when those two buildings crumbled, they'd tell you about the earliest instance they saw/heard the news. It's the singlemost effective event in recent history for a reason. The dust might have settled and the debris must have given way to a taller structure but the ramifications of that attack still resonate in world politics. To me, nevertheless, that event is more of a blur. I used to read The Asian Age (TAA) back then, mainly because it was priced at one rupee. I used to get three rupees on a daily basis: one for going to school, another for coming back and one for emergency. I used to spend the emergency allowance on buying myself a newspaper. I absolutely loved TAA. It was edited by MJ Akbar and featured splendid columns from not only an Indian perspective but also international (they had a syndicated collaboration with the New York Times). And my earliest memory of following an event per se was the execution of Timothy McVeigh. I read TOI in passing at my tutor's place but nobody else, i'm quite sure, covered the aftermath of Oklahoma bombing as acutely as TAA did. I can recollect reading an entire broadsheet about McVeigh's upbringing, his difficult times during the Gulf War, his ideological shift to extremism, also how he cared for kindle (a group of kittens) as a little boy only to grow up and be responsible for the death of 168 people. I remember reading that his last meal consisted of icecream, his favourite thing in the world. I read all of these exactly three months before 9/11. He was executed on June 11, 2011. When the news of 9/11 reached me, i immediately presumed someone like McVeigh must have attempted such a horrific action. The building in Oklahoma wasn't very tall, so i felt maybe the attackers were aiming higher this time.

No comments: